I don’t know whether to call it a god-given gift. But some of us Pathan kids, particularly those born in Khyber Agency (like Shahid Afridi), can perform some amazing tricks. For instance, he could from a very young age crack walnuts, eat apples and apricots using his nose! And, not surprisingly, when the situation demands it, Shahid can also smell with his mouth and his teeth. Now, you may ask where I sourced these unbelievable personal traits from. Well, it has not come from his lawyer, a die-hard fan or a family-member. It’s all courtesy the redoubtable Dr K.R. Knows, an authority on nasal ingestion of food and other oddities: Biting With The Nose and Smelling With Your Mouth (Macmillan/McGraw-Hill; 600 pages). The tome has not only been translated into Pashto and Hindi, but the good doctor is tipped to be honoured with a Padma award next year by the Indian government. I tell you, some people have all the luck....
Anyway, to get to the point, given Afridi’s special gift, I can’t understand all the hullabaloo at Perth about him ‘biting’ the ball during the Pakistan-Australia one-dayer. Please take it from me, the young man was telling the truth when he told a TV network that he was merely smelling the ball. As I see it, if Afridi really wanted to tear into the seam he could very well have used his nose and no one would have even an inkling of what he was doing! So, I think in the great Pathan tradition, the ICC must accept he did nothing wrong. In fact, he has often confided in me that inhaling the aroma from a cricket ball that’s 30 overs old gives him a buzz. I guess it must be like a cocaine rush or something like that. Anyway, if even all these explanations don’t convince you, then let me share Afridi’s most closely guarded secret: more than biting into a ball, he enjoys cricket bats marinated in spicy pudina chutney. In fact, once on an English tour he even tried chomping on gloves dipped in tea. His simplistic verdict later was “Yeh bakwas hai! Koi taste nahin.”
To come back to the Perth incident, my understanding of Law 42.3 of the ICC rulebook says nothing about smelling a ball. Yes, players cannot gain unfair advantage by disturbing the seam and surface of the ball—something that several cricketers have been accused of in the past. But then we bowlers are at a distinct disadvantage because the laws of the game and the pitches favour batsmen. So, every now and then someone tries to tamper the ball. But not Afridi—he didn’t bite, he only used his teeth to smell.
Meanwhile, I understand his female fans have been calling in expressing their sympathies. One of them even cooed—“Shahidbhai what’s wrong with biting a ball? It’s as bad as cricketers biting their nails.” If she only knew he was just smelling....
(As imagined by Ajith Pillai)
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT